Global Research Network Meeting on Copyright Flexibilities

A group of IP scholars and social activists met in the ambit of Gobal Research Network on Limitations and Exceptions at Washington College of Law, American University in the 3rd week of September. This was the 3rd meetings on the research topic since the establishment of the Gobal Network. With the participatant from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa (working in US though), the Network is able to stimulate dynamic discussion on globally compatible copyright flexibility model. Although there were many debates and misunderstanding on the proposal “open” model, particularly between Latin American civil law tradition and American common law tradition, consensus is gradually being built. The research on 3-step test is also fruitful. After the meeting of Day one, some participants took a long trip to Maryland to meet the TPP negotiators from all Member States except Canada and Mexico, both of which will not join negotiation until next round.

The Discussions show that there are many creative industries that are relying on copyright flexibility and newly opened-up legal model (e.g. Singapore and Isreal) exerts positive economic effect on GDP and employment. The so-called open model does contain a few new elements that were either overlooked or ruled out. Firstly, open model is shifting the defensive fair use to proactive users’ right, which has been confirmed in Canadian case law; secondly, open model may incorporate the legal presumption for the listed use, which would ease the burden of proof from the users; thirdly, 3-step test can be used prospectively to enable new exceptions, rather than to limit the existing exceptions.

It is interesting to witness the back and forth of the copyright reform in a couple of countries. While Panama enacted a restrict copyright law recently, Brazil is experimenting some flexible approach. China’s 3rd Revision of Copyright Law is another focus of internation attention. For more information, please refer to my recent paper that covers all the important aspects of the 2nd Draft at WCL website.


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